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17 Then we who are alive will join them, transported together in clouds[a] to have an encounter[b] with the Lord in the air, and we will be forever joined with the Lord.

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  1. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 There is no definite article before clouds. It is literally “in clouds.” Where the identifying article is missing, it often speaks of quality, or it is used as a descriptive term. The Greek word for “cloud” is often used in the Greek classics of a large body of individuals, and it is so used in this symbolic way in Heb. 12:1-2, speaking of the “great witnesses who encircle us like clouds.”
  2. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 The Greek word apantēsis is not a verb (go to meet) but a feminine noun (to meet or have an encounter), and in this context it is the bride of Christ rising to be with Jesus to have an encounter or “[bridal] meeting.” This rarely used Greek word is also used in the parable of the ten virgins, referring to the virgins rising up to meet (have a meeting) with the bridegroom. See Matt. 25:1, 6.